I have been warned by so many people about how sad TFiOS is and how I need to have a box of tissues beside me throughout the whole book because I will need it. However what they failed to mention is how humorous, how full of life the characters were. The female protagonist, Hazel Grace has thyroid cancer, she has to carry and is connected to an oxygen tank with her all the time to breath. At the opening of the book you see her depressed and a hermit. Only leaves the house when she is forced to go to the cancer support group. However one day she meets Augustus Waters. Augustus Waters was everything good in a fictional male protagonist. He was funny, spoke his mind, was smart, and loved with no limits. He had osteosarcoma (for those who don't know, that is bone cancer). His right leg was prosthetic but his larger than life personality overshadowed his handicap. I really loved both characters whole heartedly. Augustus and Hazel Grace were just two kids struggling through their sickness and finding true love in each other.
Some quotes from the book I enjoyed to the point that I labeled them include: "I told Augustus the broad outline of my miracle: diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer when I was thirteen. (I didn't tell him that the diagnosis came three months after I got my first period. Like: Congratulations! You're a woman. Now die.) "
- Hazel Grace"What am I at war with? My cancer. And what is my cancer? My cancer is me. The tumors are made of me. They're made of me as surely as my brain and my heart are made of me. It is a civil war Hazel Grace, with a predetermined winner."
- Augustus Waters
I also loved how supportive Hazel Grace's family is. Her dad and mom broke my heart the most. They were so caring, so motherly and fatherly and it was definitely a nice change from the usual dysfunctional family you see in YA books. I am actually a person that cries at any tiny sad thing but surprisingly I didn't cry during TFiOS. I honestly don't know why, but I think it is because I was already prepared for the worst and it being a book about two cancer kids falling in love? it was inevitable that one of them, if not both would die (that is not a spoiler alert!). I think I am just becoming immune to sad novels, I read too many sad books them!
The only thing that I didn't enjoy as much was the amount of pages spent on An Imperial Affliction
, which was a fiction novel about a girl with cancer that Hazel and then Gus love, and the need for both Gus and Hazel to find out the true ending. I just felt it got a bit draggy, especially when the author of the book turned out to be such a jerk. However other secondary characters like Isaac, whose his humor left me gaping because they mostly revolved around making fun of his own cancer and his 'impeding death'. I would laugh and then catch myself and think "How could I laugh at his situation?" but I'm guessing that is exactly why any person with a sickness feels disconnected with others, We treat them as if they are fragile flowers, watch every word we say, and stay guarded, but while thinking we are protecting them, we are making them feel as if we are becoming more distant from them. Which is why TFiOS felt more real, because Hazel, Gus, and Isaac all had cancer, so they could speak their minds, joke, and make fun of each other and their sickness without restraint. I believe that was the beauty of the book. The easiness of the characters and the absence of a mouth filter in all the characters! I really recommend this book to all contemporary fans, and if you're scared you're going to cry your eyes out, I say go for it, this book has officially made me a John Green fan.
More reviews on Maji Bookshelf